Ladder Exchange now in its Eighth Year

Trade body The Ladder Association has launched the 2014 Ladder Exchange which runs 1 September to 31 December.   Run by the Ladder Association since 2012, the Ladder Exchange promotes the use of safe ladders and helps take potentially dangerous ones out of service by allowing both individuals and businesses to trade in their old ladders, regardless of condition, for discount priced new ones.

Thousands of ‘dodgy’ ladders have already been taken out of service, and this year’s scheme aims to build on that with an added focus on competence. To find out more and participate please click on the following link

Construction inspections find sites failing to prevent health risks

A national targeted inspection focussing on health risks for construction workers saw enforcement action taken at one in six of hundreds of sites visited. During the two week period of proactive inspections, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) demanded improvements, and in some cases put an immediate stop to work activities, where they fell short of expected standards. Inspectors focussed on significant health risk issues, such as respiratory risks from dusts containing silica materials, exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint, manual handling, noise and vibration.

Final figures have yet to be confirmed, but conditions were so poor in some situations that the work had to be stopped on at least thirteen occasions. A total of  560 sites were visited and enforcement notices were served at 85 of them. 13 Prohibition Notices were served and 107 Improvement Notices. A total of 239 health-related Notices of Contravention were served at 201 of the sites.

BSG add another new Safety Adviser to its expanding team

Shane Ponting joins The Building Safety Group as a Safety Adviser looking after our members sites in Swindon and the surrounding areas. Shane is passionate about Health and Safety and has spent most of his working life within it, so is very well established to continue to advise and thoroughly support all our members ensuring that the highest levels of Health and Safety are maintained. Shane is delighted to be part of the team and looks forward to meeting our members. The Building Safety Group welcome him to the team.

City and Country choose The Building Safety Group as its UK health and safety partner

City and Country have chosen The Building Safety Group (BSG) to be its UK consultants for health, safety and environmental advice. The renowned heritage developer chose BSG as its preferred partner because it was considered to be the best equipped safety group to cater for City and Country’s requirements.

“City and Country is rapidly expanding as a business and we needed a  Health and Safety partner that could provide us with national coverage. This is why we selected the Building Safety Group, who have a UK network of Health and Safety resources that can support our needs as we grow”, explained William Sargeant, Production Coordinator at City and Country. William added ” we also firmly believe that joining the Building Safety Group will strengthen our reputation as a construction company by helping us to continue to deliver the highest standards in Health and Safety”. Paul Kimpton, Managing Director for the Building Safety Group commented: “Naturally we are very happy to have City and Country on board, whose pedigree and reputation is highly regarded in the industry. The latest addition to BSG’s membership base is also a positive reflection of the recent upturn in the construction sector, as more companies continue to join us during the first half of 2014”.

HSE launches occupational disease website

The Health and Safety Executive ( HSE) has launched a new website on occupational disease. The site, Tackling occupational disease, states that work-related health issues are harder to tackle than safety issues as cause and effect are often not clearly linked.

HSE says that it wants to build on work that public, private and third sector organisations are doing by encouraging the promotion and exchange of ideas and the generation of novel initiatives through the website and an occupational disease community site, focussing on two key priority areas: respiratory diseases (including asthma, COPD and silicosis); and occupational cancer (from all routes of exposure). Users can sign up to join the occupational disease community site, which offers access to information on the methods and materials that have been developed by a range of organisations to raise awareness. Visit the website at

Changes to CSCS cards

From the 1st July 2014 the green Construction Site Operative (CSO) card will no longer be issued. There will be a new green CSCS card only available for people working in labouring occupations. If you apply for cards on behalf of your employees and they do not work in a labouring occupation use the CSCS cardfinder ( to find out which is the right card for them.
If they are working in a labouring occupation you can apply for the new green Labourer card.

You will need to provide evidence they have achieved one of the following:
QCF/SCQF Level 1 Award Health and Safety in a Construction Environment or One day Site Safety Plus Health and Safety Awareness course Construction  Site Operative.

If you are renewing or applying for a new green card up to June 30th 2014 the following applies:
This card is available to workers who carry out basic site skills only e.g. Labourers. It is available if you have either your employer’s recommendation (industry accreditation). Your employer must use the industry accreditation competencies, when recommending you or NVQ or SVQ level 1.

This card is valid for five years. All applicants must pass the CITB Operatives Health, Safety and Environment Test. If you have not achieved either of the qualifications listed for the Labourer Card (It will only be available to expired CSO green card holders until the end of Jan 2015). This card (provisional red card) is valid for six months and cannot be renewed. Before the card expires the cardholder must achieve one of the qualifications listed for the Labourer Card.
In short those CSO cards that have expired will need to be replaced with an appropriate trade card. They can apply for the provisional red card (until end of Jan 2015) to either obtain a trade or if labourers obtain either of the required qualifications.

BSG’s Managing Director comments on CDM Regulations 2015 in Construction Manager

Now half way through the 10 week consultation on CDM 2015 and there seems to be two schools of thought on the implications emerging.

One broadly shares the views and aspirations of the HSE, whilst the other is concerned that the HSE’s proposals create new and confusing responsibilities along the supply chain which could have consequences. Paul Kimpton, Managing Director of The Building Safety Group worries that by removing the client’s duty to ensure health and safety “competence” as enshrined in the ACoP and putting it in the hands of the contractors may in fact only reinforce the industry’s reliance on bureaucratic “competence-based” accreditation schemes. He states “How does the client make the right choice of contractor? Nowhere in the regulations is there a steer. Its so vague, its almost going to reinforce the bureaucracy that’s already in place”. The consultation finishes on the 6th June.

To view the entire feature please click here

Construction growing its quickest for 20 years

Contractors are beginning to turn down tendering opportunities in the face of growing workloads and skills shortages.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey for the first quarter of 2014 found members reporting the highest upturn in workloads since the survey began 20 years ago. Private housing, commercial and industrial sectors, which represent around half national construction output, both grew strongly. Rising demand is being seen across most of the country and the RICS survey  now expects the industry’s headcount to rise by 3% this year. With about 2.12m employed in construction, this roughly translates into about 64,000 more jobs.  Most significantly a rise in demand is being seen across most of the UK. And now there are strong signs that London and the South East are starting to overheat. Philip Jones at the Oxford office of Ridge and Partners said: “The construction market appears to be starting to overheat. “Contractors are turning down opportunities to tender. This is particularly the case with single stage design and build tenders.”  The ‘feel good’ factor is being tempered by a further increase in reported skills shortages across many trades and in most parts of the country.
Chris Tunbridge at Brighton based BLB Surveyors, said: “We are being affected by the London market where for some trades people, it is more profitable to travel to work in London than to remain in the Brighton region.  “There is still some nervousness within certain sectors and while most contractors are busy there are those who are struggling with the specific sectors they work in. Public sector works is a key example.”  Geoff Allen at Interserve Project Services, said: “As the upturn grows there will be a shortage of construction professionals. Already staff are moving for increased salaries.”

TG20:13 The Highlights

TG20: 13 is the latest update in guidance on tube fitting scaffolding from the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation. Highlights
of the new guidance include:

  • All  standard scaffolds in TG20:13 are fully proven by design and calculation and as  such no additional design work will be required.
  • TG20:13  will adopt a more user-friendly approach than its predecessor and will be more  pictorial than previous versions—a common complaint about the last revision was  that it was difficult to follow
  •  TG20:13  will be available electronically and to download as an App for mobile devices,  and will include more scaffold types as standard designs. This guide will also  demonstrate through a computer software system if a scaffolding system needs any  additional designing or not
  • Following  feedback from TG20:08 saying it benefitted designers, the revised TG20:13  guidance will put the power back in scaffolders hands, not the engineers and will remove some of the burden for design currently experienced
  • Designs  included will be: Basic Birdcages, Towers, Basic Fans, Loading Bays, Unit Transoms, 3M lift heights, Hop-Up Braces, Basic Bridges & Basic  Splays.

While  the scaffolding industry gets to grips with the new guidance the HSE have  announced they will not enforce TG20:13 during the so-called “bedding
in” period.